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Bentley score big with first and third at halfway mark

31 July 2016

Bentley Team M-Sport’s Wolfgang Reip, Maxime Soulet and Andy Soucek lead at the halfway mark of this year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa after the race settled down, leading to a largely incident-free period of running, during the early hours of Sunday morning.

The trio had been in a close battle with the #99 Rowe Racing BMW driven by Philipp Eng, Alexander Sims and Maxime Martin, who had maintained the lead for a large part of the twilight hours before serving the car’s mandatory five-minute technical stop. 

That allowed the #8 Continental GT3 to inherit a lead it would keep until just after the halfway mark, thus scoring the maximum 12 points available, before Reip dived in under a Full Course Yellow period to serve the car’s own mandatory five-minute mechanical pit-stop.

The #6 Phoenix Racing Audi driven by Christopher Mies, Frank Stippler and Markus Winkelhock picked up the bonus points for second place ahead of the second Bentley of Steven Kane, Guy Smith and Vincent Abril who continued to make steady progress after starting the race from pit-lane. 

However, the FCY period - resulting from the #41 Classic and Modern Racing Ferrari dropping a significant portion of oil on entry to the Bus Stop, has seen a flurry of pit-stops that threaten to shake up the order as the race enters its second half.

Franck Perera was aboard the #74 ISR Audi when it scooped maximum points for leading the Pro-Am Cup at half-time, ahead of Michael Lyons’ AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG and #11 Kessel Racing Ferrari driven by Michal Broniszewski. 

Kessel were also top of the Am Cup pile when the clock ticked past the 12-hour mark at Spa, Liam Talbot having a lap in hand over Rino Mastronardi’s AF Corse’s Ferrari and recovering Marco Seefried Rinaldi Racing 488 that span out on the very first lap. 

The overall top-three also comprised the provisional podium finishers in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, which only awards points for final results. Meanwhile, ISR’s Henry Hassid and Philippe Giauque currently lead the Am segment.